We had dinner with friends at Caf & Bouffe in Villeray last night. It's a small neighborhood Italian place, and doesn't seat many people. It wasn't busy last night but on our way out the cook suggested we call for reservations in the future.
The place could best be described as "Italian with a Quebecois vibe" -- prices are reasonable (it's BYOB). The menu is not long but contains about 18 different pasta selections, including several vegetarian options, much to my pleasure. There are also several "just meat" options (as opposed to pasta) including standards like Osso Bucco. There is also a table d'hôte, where you get soup, salad, and dessert for $9 extra.
I had the ricotta stuffed pasta dumplings (I forget the name, but they're like giant thick ravioli) in a walnut and cream sauce. Very rich, but well done. Spouse had the linguini with clam sauce -- she's been looking for a good clam sauce since we arrived in Montreal -- and liked it. Though it was more herb-y than garlicky (which is how most of her favorite clam sauces are). Our friends had the linguini with pesto, boncoccini and sundired tomatos, which tasted good but was a little heavy on the olive oil; and the carbonara sauce, which was reported to be very good.
The highlight of the meal was the table d'hôte, which spouse and I split. The cauliflower soup was to die for, as was the goat cheese salad (mostly because of the interesting viniagrette), and since it was about to be Féte Nationale, we chose the sugar pie for dessert, which had the predicted intense maple flavor. Also worthy of mention was the excellent onion confit that went with the bread they served (the bread was also excellent, though I'm not sure that it's baked on premises).
Service was great, though oddly, they don't keep take-out containers on hand. Dinner for spouse and I -- 2 pastas, 1 table d'hôte and a generous tip -- set us back $50.
171 Villeray Est., 514-277-7455, staff is Francophone but will speak English. We will definitely be back.